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What is Hemoptysis: Causes, Treatment and Types



What is Hemoptysis

Hemoptysis means coughing or spitting blood. Hemoptysis is often not seen as a sickness but as a symptom of an underlying cause.

The blood spit appears foamy or bright red. The quantity can range from very little, such as blood stains in sputum, to more evident, bigger amounts or clots. Massive hemoptysis occurs when the blood amounts greater than 600 ml. It calls for immediate medical attention.

You should be able to distinguish between hemoptysis and haematemesis. Hemoptysis refers to the coughing up of blood or blood-stained sputum from the lungs or respiratory tract. This usually occurs when there is bleeding in the lungs, bronchi, or trachea. On the other hand, haematemesis refers to the vomiting of blood. It occurs when there is bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, typically in the oesophagus.

Types of Hemoptysis

Depending on how much blood you cough up in 24 hours, the classification of hemoptysis is done. A thorough examination makes it easier to predict the type of hemoptysis. The following are the types of hemoptysis:

Massive Hemoptysis

Massive hemoptysis is life-threatening. Blood loss from massive hemoptysis can range from 100 mL to more than 600 mL.

Non-Massive Hemoptysis

This type of hemoptysis is non-life-threatening. Affected individuals may cough 20 to 200 mL of blood in this condition.

Mild Hemoptysis

During mild hemoptysis or scant hemoptysis, a person coughs up less than 20 mL of blood.

Causes of Hemoptysis

Coughing of blood may result from numerous factors. One of the most common causes of hemoptysis is a foreign object in the airway that causes internal bleeding by tearing the inner lining. Although moderate, this bleeding shouldn't persist over a few days.

In severe cases, lung injury or a ruptured blood vessel of the respiratory tract, primarily the bronchial artery, causes the bleeding. These are the factors that may lead to the severity:

Heart Issues: Myocardial Hemoptysis can be caused by cardiovascular problems that lead to pulmonary venous hypertension. Heart failure caused by left ventricular systole is the most frequent of these.

Laryngitis: It is an infection-related inflammation of the larynx.

Bronchitis: The inner lining of the bronchial tubes may become inflamed with bronchitis.

Tuberculosis: Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria cause the infectious disease tuberculosis, primarily affecting the lungs.

Lung Cancer: Chronic smokers who develop lung cancer accumulate chemicals to the point where the lungs are eventually damaged.

Parasite infections, malignant tumours, autoimmune diseases, and embolisms can also harm the lungs. Crack or cocaine can also cause hemoptysis.

Diagnosis of Hemoptysis

Preliminary hemoptysis tests include a standard physical examination and a chest X-ray. Your doctor may also recommend additional tests to rule out severe causes of hemoptysis. If the results are normal, they may recommend a chest computed tomography (CT).

When there is bleeding in the respiratory tract, it is necessary to do a bronchoscopy, an endoscopic examination of the airways, or a tissue sample check for lesions.

Treatment of Hemoptysis

Depending on the underlying reason, there are different treatments for hemoptysis. After diagnosing your condition, your doctor may suggest any of the following treatment measures:

Medication: A bacterial illness and cough can be treated with medication. To slow down the bleeding, you may require medicines.

Saline Water: Rinsing with saline water may help to lessen or stop the bleeding in your nose and throat.

Injections: Bronchial artery embolisation is a method to inject medication into an injured blood vessel. The drug assists in slowing the bleeding.

Surgery: Surgery may be required if preliminary treatment does not treat extreme bleeding. Additionally, surgery may be performed to identify and address additional issues in your respiratory tract.

If neglected for long, hemoptysis develops into a life-threatening condition. Massive and moderate hemoptysis require immediate medical diagnosis and care.

Important facts about Hemoptysis

There may be various underlying causes behind this disease. It can be associated with heart disease, vascular disorder, infection, pulmonary disease etc. Its diagnosis involve vast work-up through physical exam, medical history, imaging test, and blood test. Also, treatment varies based on the severity. In case of high-severity the primary focus of the doctors will be on stabilising the airway while replenishing the blood loss.

Book Blood Test


Spitting blood while coughing can indicate major medical disorders, including or excluding hemoptysis . If you cough up blood for over a week, consult your doctor. After thoroughly reviewing your test reports, your doctor will identify the reason for your hemoptysis. So, you must get your tests from a trustworthy diagnostic centre like Metropolis Healthcare . Metropolis pathology lab and diagnostic centre is a leading name in the healthcare field for its accurate lab reports.  

Till now this lab has performed around 50M+ tests and it has 1500+ laboratories all over India. Metropolis allow patients suffering from chronic disease to give samples from their home. Also, you can visit your nearest Metropolis lab for giving samples. You will get reports both online and offline and all your information will be kept confidential.

For Hemoptysis, you may require blood test for scanning to diagnose the underlying cause. Metropolis can provide accurate diagnosis report to you, and yes early dectection can help you to avoid future trouble.

Final Takeaway

  • Check for any severity if your cough persists for long duration or if you notice blood while coughing.
  • Based on the severity you may need medications, injections, saline water or even need to undergo surgery.
  • Never neglect any single sign of Hemoptysis, as it can convert into a life-threatening disease if left uncured.

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